1791. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 July 1810

1791. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 July 1810 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Your letter I hope & trust was written in a different tone of mind from what it would have indicated if you had been writing at mid-day instead of day-break. Surely if you are strong enough to travel <to> Keswick, the best pleasure which it affords you will be able in some degree to enjoy, – & lie at your ease in the boat, while Tom & I alternately amuse ourselves at the oars. Your disease is certainly not the ordinary liver complaint in which abscess after abscess forms & breaks till till the system can no longer support the discharge. God knows what it is, – not improbably the effect of that dreadful fall, – the liver being of all the viscera that which is most likely to be injured by a general concussion of the whole frame. I wish Keswick stood higher for you, – but in this country all towns & villages are built in the vallies, – with the exception of one little villa hamlet <(Watendlath)> as lonely as it is lovely, about five miles from hence, which is in a valley high among the mountains. To lodge you there however would be almost as impossible as it would be in xxxx one of the mountains of the Moon, & I think here in Keswick you will taste the air of all the surrounding heights in sufficient purity whenever the wind blows – which it does often enough most vociferously. – Lodgings here are bad – in size something about your old apartments at Mr Toon’s. [1]  – nor are they any of them well-situated – I shall get the most chearful & airy which are to be had, – & in whatever whichever that may be it cannot be more than a quarter of a mile from this room of mine, – provided you make as much use of that as I expect & require, I will answer for my patience in any other trial to which you may think proper to put it. Here are books in super-abundance for every studious mood, – when you are for conversation you may have as much or as little as you like, – if you like chess Tom is fond of it, – & when you are tired of all there is a sort of sofa-bed in the room. on which

If there be any thing in the way of diet beyond the most ordinary articles of consumption which you require it must be brought with you, – for Keswick is a wretched town, & very ill supplied with every thing. The best thing we have is an Apothecary, for whom I hope in God I you x may feel no occasion, – but it is a satisfaction to know that he is we have a much more skilful & better infor a better informed practitioner than is usually to be found, or indeed expected, in such a place. – Bring with you as much hope as you can, & freedom from all business & this pure air may work wonders.

Your route will be pleasanter if you make for Leeds instead of Manchester & so to Skipton & Settle, – by this means you will not <only> avoid much uninteresting country, but also I believe some the detestable paved roads of the south of Lancashire, which are enough to shake a sound man into a liver complaint. If you cannot get from Settle to Lancaster, go on to Kendal & from thence to Ambleside Kirkby Lonsdale, & it will be worth while turning back to Lancaster, for the sake of crossing the sands & entering the Lake country by the best route. If you feel desirous to be at the end of your journey, your spirits flag, or you are fatigued, come on from Kirkby Lonsdale to Kendal, Ambleside & Keswick.

Pray remember me to your father & mother. I hope I shall send you or bring you back with a new stock of health.

God bless you my dear Grosvenor

Yrs very affectionately

Robert Southey

Sunday. July 8. 1810.

Your Godson is not yet four years old. You will frighten nobody except little Bertha, who makes up a sorrowful lip at every new face for about three days, – a nice little live doll who x just begins to run from room to room, & can tell a very pityful story when she hurts herself, or fancies herself ill-treated, without saying a single word.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 11 JY 11/ 1810
Endorsement: 8 July 1810
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Unidentified. BACK

People mentioned

Edmondson, John (d. 1823) (mentioned 1 time)
Bedford family (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Bertha (1809–1877) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 5 times)
Ambleside (mentioned 1 time)